David Batchelor

David Batchelor

I am not at all interested in ‘pure’ colour… So if I use colours to begin to dissolve forms, I also use forms to prevent colours becoming entirely detached from their everyday existence.”

Parapillar 7 (Multicolour)

Batchelors rediscovery of colour theories into a contemporary context feels like it is presented as a challenge to places like the White Cube and modernist ideals of purity. Although he fits within the establishment, the work wants to challenge our perception of colour, balancing vibrant colours with structural forms. His book (Chromophobia, 2000) goes into more detail of how these thoughts are based upon art histories attitudes to colour, and makes a fascinating point about how the movements that over used colour (pop art) and those that avoided them (minimalism) are what has given artists today the freedoms of creation. With the emergence of the camera we moved away from the limitations of realistic artwork and into an era of industrial and technological art.

However, I would argue that in a contemporary setting we must explore colour theory as a base for emotional documentation and understanding, rather than continuing in a vain of ‘art-for-arts-sake’.


How to hang the final pieces:

Hopes for presentation techniques:

  • Subtle and doesn’t distract from paintings
  • Does not damage paper
  • Does not hide paper

These points immediately rule out nails or tacks in each corner, as well as the fact that the paper would probably tear from its own weight. As well as excluding the possibility of a custom frame, especially as this would be an extremely expensive option.

I would like to have the paper visible as much as possible as it creates a contrast between wall and painting that also references my desire to focus on the materiality of the paintings.

My first thought was to get poster hangers that would attach to the bottom and top of the poster. But this would act as a frame on two of the sides and does not fit into the “subtle” criteria.

Image result for poster grip hanger

I then found this article on how to make a custom poster grip, which I could paint white (and so be more subtle). However, I still did not feel like this was the best option as I was not confident that the design would be able to hold up the large, heavy pieces.


Other options included glueing the paper to large pieces of board or creating a stretcher like design to be glued to the back that would give the paper enough structure to be easily attached to the wall.

However, when I was looking for the magnets that I could place in the DIY poster grips I stumbled across an article that completely solved my problem and with their useful guides I was able to calculate the exact amount of magnets that I would need for the paintings!



Update 10/05/17:

I have now been able to test the magnets and I am so pleased with the results! It is also funny because other students with paperwork started to consider using magnets when I shared the idea with them. It presents the work in such a clean, crisp way without damaging the work!


Sonia Delaunay

Image result for sonia delaunay orphism

Delaunay’s work was more design based as she had textiles and cars made from her patterns. The work is clearly from the cubist period but uses colour in a more instinctive way rather than focusing on the form that the colour take. The mixture of hues and tones creates a visual storm that changes with every glance, depending on where the eye lands the colours can rise and fall like an optic illusion of abstract colour.

The term Orphism is used to describe her and her husbands work which was a small off shoot of cubism that focused on abstract art and the aesthetic qualities in painting, using bright, bold colours rather than the more popular muted tones of the cubist artists.

Painting on the larger scale!

It was so exciting when the paper turned up. I remember my studio neighbours commenting on the size of the box, so it was daunting when I first put the paper up to start painting on. The hardest aspect of this was balancing the upscaling process so that they are neither too big or too small for the paper. I am very glad that I did all 12 of the original size because it means that I am now very comfortable with how the forms and colour tones compliment each other. Becuase I am now working towards the degree show I have limited myself to six of the codes, choosing from the original 12.

As well as having to consider the scaling of the paper I have considered the colours that I have selected, buying from two companies that I have used. (Windsor & Newton, top. Seawhites of Brighton, bottom)

At first, thinking that I would be choosing from these available colours I did the test pieces above, the main issue that I could see being that while the colours are similar they have different positive qualities from higher pigments to textural differences. As a curiosity test, I then mixed the two paints together:

Once I had seen how these colours sat on the watercolour paper and mixed with each other, and the tonal aspect I decided that these were the colours that I was going to work with.

And so I began to work on the paintings which can be seen below:

Once I had the paper on the wall I was able to able to work out the measurements so that I could plan for how much space I would need for the degree show.

My hope is that I will be able to get 3 and a half walls but this will be a very large space to fill. The diagram above shows how I would prefer to be able to show the pieces, I will have to work out which of the pieces should go where but this, realistically, can only be done when I can put them all out in front of the wall.

Ian Davenport and Morris Louis

Ian Davenport – Three Arches series

In dark violet, blue and magenta Davenport creates works that focus on digital primary colours (CMYK) rather than the traditional primary colours (RBY). The purity of the colour from the screenprinting technique adds to the more digital appearance of the work. While the flatness of the work is calming for the eye, I feel that it fits within Kandinsky’s “lifeless” comment. While this may seem harsh, this opinion is based on my personal preference for textural work rather than the prevalence for flatness that Albers promotes. Of course with the preference of teaching contemporary artists Albers colour theories, it is understandable that many artists choose this style.

However, Davenport’s colour drip paintings combine the flat of the digital with the fluidity of painting.

Ian Davenport, ‘Colourcade: Pink, Purple’, 2016, Paul Kasmin Gallery

This reminds me of the work of Gerhard Richter and members of the Abstract expressionists, it is visually exciting and does not finish how the viewer might expect. With these pieces, I feel that Davenport is celebrating the materials that he is using more. In one article that I read this work was likened to the work of Morris Louis who, I would argue, has a more analogue approach to colour, rather than the clinical, crisp and perfectionist style of Davenport:

Image result for morris louis artist colour

The pieces that I have seen of Louis show where the paints were initially added to the canvas, they look more like a natural progression of colour (Aka a rainbow of colour) rather than a set of colours specifically chosen for their complementary attributes (Albers-style). Furthermore, the canvas is allowed to play a role in the composition to emphasise the separation of artwork and wall. Thus, pushing even more focus onto the colour pattern.

Image result for morris louis artist colour

Whereas this is the more gestural version of Louis’ work, with the colours mixing with one another to create an elaborate dance of colour across the canvas.

Up the scale

Instead of presenting the A2 colour codes I am going to produce six larger pieces that just focus on the primary colours. My main focus has been on the enjoyment of colour and form, and so creating a piece that represents this in its original set up but on a larger scale feels like the most successful outcome. Of course, I can see this project going on past my degree, where I will start to create more complex pieces as the code progresses towards a more diverse mixture.

Based on the materials that I have been using I have decided to look for watercolour paper that is at a high gsm. There is Fabriano paper that is used by most others in the studio. However, I wanted to explore and see what else was available, especially as large amounts of Fabriano is rolled which would mean cutting to size, and flattening, which would not have produced the crisp finish that I desire. I happened to find Atlantis produce large pieces of watercolour paper at 400gsm that is shipped flat and is pre-cut to a size that measures larger than A0!

It was very daunting when the paper arrived as it was wonderfully large but the quality is very apparent, and I am happy with the texture so that I can get a similar finish to what I was able to produce with the A4 and A2 paintings!